Wagering on NHL Hockey Games – Getting Started and What to Know

While not quite at the level of NFL betting action – as nothing can touch the pigskin numbers just yet – NHL fans are gearing up for another season of action on the ice, and what is expected to be a significant increase in wagers about the outcomes for all 31 of the league’s teams.

Sports gambling has been on the rise for years, and has only increased since June 2018 when it became legal in New Jersey. Beyond the obvious availability of gambling options in Las Vegas, sports betting is also legal in places like New Mexico, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. With that in mind, there has been an increase in mini-sports books popping up inside arenas, along with point spreads more prominently featured in radio and TV coverage of hockey.

Interestingly, one of the first teams to truly embrace the wagering craze has been the New Jersey Devils. As timing would have it, New York area’s ‘other’ team is on the rise simultaneously and they’re the darlings of the league in most circles right now. To say the Devils are a trendy pick would be putting it mildly.

Beginners should start here for some helpful info on NJ sports betting. Furthering that thought, we can offer a few other quick tips to get you started.

Betting on hockey comes in a variety of forms. While it may seem a bit confusing at first to the common gambler, it’s really not that difficult. Think of it like roulette on a casino floor. When you first walk up, you may feel a little apprehension, but place a few basic bets and you’ll likely catch the bug in no time.

Full Season Results

According to most sports books, the Tampa Bay Lightning enter the season as the betting favorite for the 2020 Stanley Cup. There’s a general consensus that teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and St. Louis Blues would be among the next best options. If you’re looking for a longshot, most have the Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators as the least likely to earn 16 wins in the playoffs next spring. But, hey, anything is possible. Just look at what LA did in 2012. They opened the season around 75/1 to win the Cup.

Individual Games

Like with the NFL, you have two basic options if you want to bet on a single game. You either take/give odds on who wins or you take/give goals (against the final score).

For example, if you’re playing the money line in a Detroit vs. Anaheim matchup and it’s Red Wings +200 / Ducks -175, that means Anaheim is favored. If you want to bet on the Ducks, you’d have to put up $175 to win $100 (the final score doesn’t matter, as long as the Ducks win, you win). On the flip side, if you put $100 on the Red Wings and they beat the Ducks, you’d pick up an extra $200.

Betting the goals are pretty similar to points spreads in football. If the game you’re eying has the Rangers +1.5 goals vs. the Flyers at -2 goals, that means you add/subtract the applicable goal number) of the team you bet on) to the final score. If your team wins with the ‘adjusted’ score, you win. For example, if you took the Flyers (-2) and the final score was 4-3 Philadelphia, you’d lose the bet even though the won on the scoreboard.

As with any betting, most experts will tell you the same thing – start small, get a feel for how things work and then ease your way into higher stakes wagers. Of course, always gamble responsibly.  

Starting this week, you’ll have over 2,500 individual games to bet on over the course of the 2019-20 NHL season. Get started now, that’s a lot of number crunching. Or just bet on your favorite team – that’s what most people seem to do.

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